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Old 08-05-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
mechhorizon
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Default 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

Hi everyone,

I did try a search but I'm not sure what to search for.

I have a 2004 Ion 3 with about 127,000 miles on it.

Work I've already done on it the last couple of years is:

New battery, alternator, spark plugs, TPS, MAP and a new fuel filter.

A while back I was having issues with it losing power and almost stalling while going up slight inclines on the highway. I couldn't go over 30 MPH or the car would start to shudder and feel like it would stall. At the time the check engine light did not come on.

Later, my check engine light flashed and I couldn't get any power after going up a small hill. I turned the car off and let it sit for a few minutes then it was fine.

At this time I replaced the spark plugs with Iridium ones. I figured that was the issue since they hadn't been replaced yet.

My car was just fine till yesterday when I drove from Redmond, Wa to Sumner, WA. It's about an hour drive. On the way home I started losing power again. I turned the A/C off and was OK for a bit, then it happened again.

It also happened today after I came to a stop at a couple of lights. When I tried to accelerate I couldn't get any power. I had to shut the car off and wait, then start again. About 10 min later it happened again.

I've been trying to learn how to do my own repairs, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to diagnose what is causing this.

Any ideas?

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Old 08-05-2012, 04:14 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

Clogged catalytic converter? Bang the cat with your hand - there shouldn't be any loose cat guts rattling inside otherwise the catcon's disintegrating and blocking exhaust flow. An alternate method might be removing the front O2 sensor, if the exhaust doesn't melt anything directly in front of the hole, and driving around the block. LOUD exhaust aside, if power returns and stays then the catcon must be falling apart and blocking exhaust flow.

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

I never thought about the catalytic converter. I do hear a rattling sound when I start the car and let it idle for a few minutes.

Are they difficult to replace? I had done some searching and it seems you need to weld it onto the car. Is that necessary?

They aren't very expensive parts so I'd like to try the repair myself but I have no experience with welding. I've done some soldering, that's about it.

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Old 08-05-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

No welding necessary. Examine your exhaust system as most are bolt on.

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Old 08-05-2012, 09:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

bolt on cat for ions, not at all hard to replace.

...
2007 Saturn Ion 2
2003 Chevrolet venture lt

trifecta dealer for the U.P. and WI. There is no two door ion. Proudly driving one of the last saturns produced before gm killed the brand.

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Old 08-17-2012, 02:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

So just to double check, before I spend a few hundred on a new catalytic convertor, I did an experiment last night and wanted some input on it.

When my car felt like it was stalling I was doing a long distance drive, about an hour.

So last night I parked outside a Starbucks, so I could use the internet, and let the car idle with the A/C on for about an hour.

When I was leaving, I got about 20 ft before the car wouldn't want to accelerate and felt like it might stall. I had very little power.

I turned the A/C off and I still had no real power, so I parked it and shut it off for about 2 min. When I started it it was just fine. No problems.

Is it possible the A/C is doing something? Drawing too much power?

I have a new alternator and a new battery, so i don't think it could be either of those.

I just want to be sure before I drop a few hundred on a part I might not really need.

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Old 08-17-2012, 06:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

Read post #2 again....................

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Old 08-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

Nothing to add... but I had to ask why you left the vehicle idle for an hour with the AC running? Not exactly kind to your ION's engine/radiator or your wallet (unless you like buying Gasoline).

I'd beware of Fuel intruding into your Motor Oil which is a whole different can of worms. (An Oil Analysis might show a rather high Fuel % in the Oil which would mean when you pull out of Starbucks and bomb down the road... the Oil isn't able to do it's job properly and is causing excessive wear until you burn off all the excess Fuel... which probably is a lot. Relatively speaking.)

Your ION might just be trying to save itself from self destruction. On that note... have you checked your Oil condition/level recently and checked what Code(s) it flashed last time?

Good Luck

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

I got my oil changed yesterday and asked them to see if there was fuel in it and the guy said no more than is normal. He said it's common to have a little bit of fuel mixed with the oil, especially on high-mileage vehicles.

As far as I've been able to find out, letting your car idle doesn't cause any damage to it, at least no more so than driving it would.

The main issues that are brought up about idling are fuel and environment. I wasn't concerned about the fuel since my intent was to see if the car would have the stalling issue after running for a while, so IMO the fuel wasn't wasted.

As for the environment, there's far more dangerous things affecting it than my car idling for an hour.

After searching these forums for most of my morning I found several posts that had the same or similar issue and found it was the IAC so I'm going to try that before I drop several hundred on a new catalytic convertor.

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Old 08-19-2012, 05:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: 2004 Ion almost stalling/loss of power

Quote:
Originally Posted by mechhorizon View Post
I got my oil changed yesterday and asked them to see if there was fuel in it and the guy said no more than is normal. He said it's common to have a little bit of fuel mixed with the oil, especially on high-mileage vehicles.
Well I'm actually talking about something a bit more then what the Oil Tech can see or smell with the Naked Eye and Nose. Unless there was HUGE amounts of Fuel (Water, Anti-freeze,etc.) getting into the Oil Pan... it's kind of difficult to "see" what is all in the "Oil" being drained out.

In reality... you may have some water, in-solubles (Indicates what the Filter isn't picking up),anti-freeze, fuel, trace amounts of various metals,elements,chemicals, etc. that all drain out and look a lot like Oil while draining and don't get a second look by anyone as it gets thrown in with the rest of the waste oil.

All of it useful in telling you if it's OK,Bad, or maybe something is happening/happened/will happen that you'll want to know about and plan/monitor in the future.

You might find some of my Oil Reports useful... had an '05 Equinox that had trace amounts of Anti-Freeze in the Oil which in turn resulted in additional wear on the engine. Not end of life bad but certainly something we might not have noticed if we hadn't given it a closer "look".

All that said... regarding your Fuel/Oil issue. Your diagnostic running for an hour was reasonable (I just wasn't clear you were actually running a diagnostic)... just keep in mind next time make sure to "baby" the vehicle a bit (No Red Lining/Jack Rabbit/Aggressive Driving) for a bit allowing the fuel to burn off without compromising the Motor Oil's Lubricating/Cooling duties while that happens.

http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...00/ppuser/9733

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/report-explanation.php

A mechanic can tell you if a Piston/Bearing is shot... an Oil Analysis can tell you the health of your engine without removing more then an Oil Pan Screw.

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